Portland Based Fingerstyle guitarist Amber Russell, has had a diverse platform of musical outlets during her almost 20 years of composing music, surprisingly without a single guitar lesson. In her home town of Elkhart Indiana, she spent 3 years learning compositions on piano,at age 13 she picked up the guitar after regularly watching her older brother Joe play bass in his band for so many years. For the next 6 years she was an active Singer songwriter in her band Geronimo wit... (more)
Amber currently offers 30 guitar lessons at JamPlay, with 30 intermediate lessons.
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Music should be fun and free, especially during the creative process! The goal of this course is to help you deviate from the norm to tap into your creativity. Oddly, it takes courage to take your guitar out of standard tuning. By using open tunings, you’re able to really express the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that you experiencing without the thought of chords.
Amber Russell introduces us to her fingerstyle course where we will learn different technical elements that will help us tap into our creativity.
Amber jumps right in encouraging us to think differently than we normally do about the guitar. Using a section of her song, 'Obstacles of Inspiration', we start off in DADGAD tuning with some overhand tapping!
Playing fingerstyle requires the ability to play different techniques at the same time. This of course, is not always an easy endeavor! Amber gets us started on this path by having us use overhand tapping and strumming.
Harmonics are a trademark technique when it comes to fingerstyle guitar. In this lesson, Amber not only explores a myriad of harmonic techniques, she shows us a new tuning!
Now we look at more harmonics, using a section of Amber's song - 'Love vs. Logic'
This lesson pays homage to the late Michael Hedges, as we focus on very rhythmic left hand hammer ons and pull offs. This technique will allow us to add other sounds later with our right hand.
Now let's take the hammer ons and pull offs we learned in the previous lesson and take it a step further, by adding false harmonics with our right hand.
Now we look to add another modern fingerstyle technique: Percussion. Amber gets us started with a simple 'kick drum' sound on a section of her song, 'Love vs. Logic'.
In this lesson, Amber uses the guitar in a piano-like manner, layering different parts for the desired effect. Watch and learn as she dissects a portion of her song, 'Falling Out of Love'.
Multitasking is the theme of this lesson! As the left hand plays the melody, the right had adds the bass part, as well as strums the upper strings. But not to worry, Amber breaks it all down and show us how to add each part until we get it up to speed.
We often think of palm muting as a very rock and metal technique. Amber shows us how this technique can be right at home here in the fingerstyle genre.
Having the ability to easily go between palm muting and not palm muting is a great technique to have under your belt. Amber shows us the mute and release technique in this lesson.
Now let's take palm muting a step further. This time we will be muting certain sections and adding a percussive 'pulse' to the riff using the palm of your strumming hand.
This lesson returns us to using some more harmonic techniques. Amber reacquaints us with the use of the strike harmonic, pull off harmonic and the ring finger rake harmonic.
It's time for a new tuning! Amber introduces us to her song - 'Portland Dance' and the DADF#AC# tuning.
To begin 'Portland Dance', it's important to first learn the pulse of the percussion first. Amber walks us through the "kick and snare" pattern that makes this song move.
Now that we have the basic percussion and bassline, it's time to add in melodic and harmonic elements of the song.
Of course everything is about the sounds you make to create a feeling, but sometimes we can use different techniques with the same notes to create yet another, quite different feeling. From slapping harmonics, to strumming it or plucking it, each variation adds to the desired end result.
Using a banjo capo allows you to explore yet another way to be creative on the guitar. Amber shows us how to combine a very different sounding open tuning, along with a banjo capo to create tonalites that are outside our normal scope of sounds on the guitar.
Let's add to the bassline we learned in the previous lesson, a melody that will challenge our normal habits of hand placement on the guitar. With practice, you'll be able to freely move around the 'obstruction' that is the banjo capo in no time!
In this lesson, Amber shares a technique she stumbled upon when experimenting with the banjo capo. When bending a note against the capo, it can be used to mute and accent that note to give it a unique texture.
Why should our other fingers have all the fun! Amber shows us a fun riff, and how to use our thumbs in a creative way to hold the bass notes.
In this lesson, we will be using hammer-ons to play the bassline while keeping a steady pulse to make sure the bass line is in time. This exercise will be great to help you keep a good tempo and feel more comfortable multitasking in this way.
Let's add more percussive elements by snapping the top of the guitar (as we learned in a previous lesson) and striking the lower part of the body. It's up to each of us individually to find that 'sweet spot' on our guitar, that when we strike, it resonates in the best possible way!
Now let's add a little tapping section to break up the verses of this piece. We are going to change our range of movement, and adapt it to the over hand tapping technique.
Amber takes one of the melody sections we learned in the previous lesson, and turns it into a percussion only section. This should be a lot of fun!
Sometimes it's the subtle techniques that can add a lot to the song! Here we follow Amber as she shows us a small tapping section. Pay attention to the length of the notes as well as some of the organization of the notes.
Even though it can sometimes seem harder to play something slow, it's imperative that you learn how to multitask by playing and combining the parts at a very slow tempo. This allows your hands to catch up to your brain, or maybe vice versa!
Now let's take the ring finger rake harmonic technique and add percussion to it. There are so many combinations of techniques to creatively explore!
In our last lesson, Amber shows us how to slide octave shapes while adding percussion and harmonics.